Of the three standardized field sobriety tests (One Leg Stand, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and Walk and Turn), the Walk and Turn test is the one that comes to mind when picturing someone standing at the side of the road, performing these tests for the police. Walking an imaginary line, heel-to-toe, the police test not only your ability to walk the line, but they are secretly testing a lot of other things, adding them up to justify an arrest. Before you ever agree to perform a field sobriety test, remember what's at stake.
What is the Walk and Turn Test?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Walk and Turn test is a divided attention test to find out how drunk a driver might be. However, in reality, it can also be passed by drunk drivers, and can be failed by sober drivers. It is important to know what the police are testing for to understand how this test can hurt you, and help to send you to jail.
The police officers or Georgia State Patrol will ask a driver to perform these tests, giving instructions before watching the driver act out the test. For this test, the police will tell the driver to take 9 steps, heel-to-toe in a straight line, then turn on one foot, and do the same thing again in the opposite direction. It is also called the walk the line test. However, from the moment the police ask a driver to step out of the car to perform the test, they are watching to find anything to make the driver fail the test. The police are actually scoring the driver on an 8-point system, to is if the driver:
- can't keep their balance while listening to the instructions;
- starting the test too early;
- stopping early before all nine steps;
- not walking heel-to-toe;
- taking too few or too many steps;
- not turning properly;
- stepping or falling off the line; and
- uses arms for balance.
Don't forget, that even though the police get training on how to do field sobriety tests the right way, they may have forgotten a step or two. Just like anyone else, the police can make some mistakes, but when you make the mistake, they aren't so forgiving. If the police messed up the field sobriety test, you should not be the one who has to go to jail. This information that can be discovered by a DUI defense lawyer who has taken the same field sobriety testing course as the police, and used in court to get the test thrown out.
Walk and Turn Sobriety Test Defense
Police and State Patrol officers only get a few days of field sobriety test training, and maybe a refresher course. What not all the officers know is that a DUI defense lawyer can also take those same training courses, to be able to question the police in court about why they did not give the right instructions, or didn't score the test as they should have. This kind of specialized training can get your DUI charges reduced or even dropped entirely.
No matter how you passed or failed any of the field sobriety tests, you still have rights, including the right to have improper testing thrown out of court. Field sobriety tests are not as accurate as the prosecutors would have you think. A false test result should not be the reason why you lose your license to drive. Call me today, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so that we can get started on your case, and fight the DUI charges against you.